GLOCESTER – Town officials took a step forward in terms of clearing up complaints about illegal dumping at 2202 Putnam Pike, West Glocester, and remedying the situation.
A letter from building inspector Ken Johnson, who was unable to attend the meeting due to surgery, stated that he had met with property owner David Harris. Johnson issued a letter of violation to Harris for illegal dumping of loam and mulch at the location. Harris is leasing the property in question to Smithfield Peat Inc. Johnson assured the council that Harris had provided results from recent testing of materials dumped there and that there were no hazardous materials involved.
Previously, abutter Peter Lowell, who said he spoke to a couple of the truck drivers, had told the council that materials containing arsenic had been dumped on the property and that no permits had been issued for any dumping.
In the letter Johnson said Harris had also created a 15 -oot berm on the property to screen it from the neighbors. He intends to use the mulch to cover the berm, said Harris in the letter.
“Mr. Harris is in negotiations with the vice president of Smithfield Peat, but not much has been said regarding the plan,” Johnson stated in the letter. “I explained to Mr. Harris that there are restrictions on the property so that he is aware of what can and cannot be done on the property.
“They are still violating,” said Councilor Walter Steere. “At some point somebody will have to take action.”
Residents complained at a previous council meeting about the noise of trucks and equipment on the property, a B2 zone, as well as concerns about possible hazardous materials being dumped there. The council agreed to find out how to legally get a sample of the materials being dumped and have them tested and place it on the agenda for the next meeting.
Johnson said the dumping was a result of a misunderstanding, adding that the owner, Smithfield Peat, was under the impression he was allowed to dump materials there. The original site in Smithfield, he said, was being closed down and the company was in the midst of switching gears. The company, which is licensed by the Rhod Island Department of Environmental Mangagement as a leaf and yard waste composting facility, bills itself as “the leading organic materials producer of screened loam, compost and mulch in Rhode Island and Southern New England.”